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Update #13

How We Decided on SPF 30 for Orange Gelée by Vacation®

By Marie Lodi | Mar 19, 2024

Keep reading to learn how we decided on the SPF level and what our Board Members had to say about it.

The Original Orange Gelée SPF and the Myth of the Safe Suntan
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When the original Orange Gelée was invented in 1925, it was sold as a tanning gel. Back then, bronzed complexions were becoming part of society’s beauty standards, dismantling the antiquated idea that paleness was better. However, sunbathers weren’t yet aware of the dangers of UV rays, and effective sun protection products were not widely available to consumers until the 1940s. Even decades later, during the ‘70s and ‘80s, when the original Orange Gelée had its heyday, sun protection wasn't on people's minds. Getting a tan was the priority.

When Orange Gelée added SPF (​​Sun Protection Factor) to its formula, it started with a low number of SPF 4 (though it later went up to SFP 30). It was advertised as a way to achieve a deep, luscious Saint-Tropez tan without burning, and many fans used it to get that sun-kissed glow. Nowadays, we know there’s no safe way to get a tan (unless it’s via self-tanner). The truth is that any tan from the sun is a sign of skin damage.

it looks like a sunset with a red , yellow and black gradient .
Determining the SPF Level for Orange Gelée by Vacation®
a woman applying a jar of orange liquid to her wrist

Making a sunscreen and figuring out its SPF can be a long and challenging process for any brand, but this specific project has its own set of nuances. After all, the Orange Gelée Revival Project is about bringing fans into the journey, which means getting their valued input at every stage– including the SPF value! There were several crucial steps to the development: We needed to seek the opinion of the Orange Gelée Advisory Board, see what other fans thought, consult with the medical community, and ensure it lined up with FDA regulations, as well as the sun safety standards set forth by the Vacation® brand.

it looks like a sunset with a red , yellow and black gradient .
Board Members’ Thoughts: Higher SPF Is Needed
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During our first round of focus groups, we asked each member of the Orange Gelée Advisory Board various questions about SPF, from what level of protection they used in the past to the highest number they’d use today. We discovered that 100 percent of our Board Members were, no pun intended, on board with a higher SPF for a revived version of Orange Gelée and would be content with SPF 30, in particular. It was unanimous!

Denise Dion pointed out how “sunblock wasn't really around” when she used the original Orange Gelée years ago, and she and her friends were mainly concerned with “trying to get tan and smell good.” These days, she supports an SPF 30 for former “die-hard sun worshipers” like her who want to be safe.

denise dion is a board member of spf 30

Other longtime Orange Gelée fans shared similar sentiments. Deana Clement is still a fan of tanning but knows that using a high SPF is necessary. She also agreed on the concept of SPF 30 for Orange Gelée by Vacation®, as long as the formula was on par with the original. “If it smelled and felt the same way, I would use [SPF 30].” Rodman Primack liked the idea of a high SPF with the same luxury feel. “You’ll want to feel like you're hedonistically tanning, but you're protecting yourself,” he said. For Orange Gelée newbie Jordan Rumsey, it has to be at least SPF 30. “Anything lower than that, and I will most likely get burned if I sit in the sun for a long time.”

it looks like a sunset with a red , yellow and black gradient .
80% of Orange Gelée Fans We Surveyed Requested a Higher SPF

It was also necessary to get the opinions of other passionate Orange Gelée fans who weren’t on the Advisory Board. We surveyed over 4,000 fans of Orange Gelée who were on our waiting list, and over 80% said they preferred a higher SPF than the original! This feedback encouraged us even more to deliver a product that would satisfy the nostalgia aspect and provide proper sun protection at the same time.

it looks like a sunset with a red , yellow and black gradient .
What the FDA Requires for Broad Spectrum SPF
a tube of orange reef by vacation is next to a woman in a lab coat

Two types of UV radiation can cause harm – UVA and UVB, and broad-spectrum sunscreen protects against both. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been regulating sunscreen since the 1970s and proposed a rule that a sunscreen cannot claim broad spectrum unless it is at least SPF 15. Not only would going below SPF 15 be dangerous from a sun safety aspect, but it would also be risky business. Since the average modern sunscreen consumer specifically looks for broad-spectrum sunscreen when shopping, many would question why the sunscreen was not considered broad-spectrum.

The Final Decision: We Went With SPF 30

Here at Vacation®, adequate sun protection is as vital as our leisurely lifestyle, and we are proud to announce Orange Gelée by Vacation® is broad spectrum SPF 30. It was a no-brainer. SPF 30 is the minimum level we use in our products and is also the recommended number for the American Academy of Dermatology and many dermatologists, including Dr. Elizabeth Hale, Board-Certified Dermatologist, SVP of The Skin Cancer Foundation and Chief Medical Advisor to Vacation®. The Orange Gelée Advisory Board supported SPF 30, and the majority of the 4,000 other fans we surveyed requested a higher SPF level. Lastly, it satisfies the FDA’s proposed requirements for broad spectrum sunscreen.

Like the other SPF products in the Vacation® lineup, Orange Gelée by Vacation® complies with Hawaii Reef Act 104 and is free from oxybenzone, octinoxate, parabens, and PEGs. The formula is nourishing, transparent, and rubs in beautifully, so it doesn’t leave a white cast on deeper skin tones. Now that Orange Gelée by Vacation® contains SPF 30 and skin-loving ingredients, fans of the original can indulge in a formula that pays homage to the look, feel, scent, and shine of the original, but do so safely. Put on your shades and prepare for that French Riviera yacht life.

it looks like a sunset with a red , yellow and black gradient .
What Board Members Said About the Final SPF 30 Decision
four people are on a video call with a sailboat in the background

Taylor Johnson (Original Fan):

“I love that it’s SPF 30, and knowing that it’s Hawaiian reef-safe and doesn’t have oxybenzone or octinoxate. I used to only focus on the scent, but now, having Wave, my six-year-old, I’m very concerned about what’s in everything. She wants to do whatever I do, so I feel safe knowing she can wear it, too.”

a quote from taylor johnson board member about spf 30

Deana Clement (Original Fan):

“I'm so glad it's SPF 30! I want my skin to look good, so the fact that it smells awesome and has benefits is just a bonus. It's great.”

deana clement is a board member of spf 30

Jessie Siu (Orange Gelée Newbie):

“I want to age well, so I always wear SPF 30 or higher; that's super important to me. This is light, will keep your skin bright and toned, and adds a bit of luxe and leisure to your everyday SPF. Obviously, you're going to want to protect yourself, and this is the perfect scent and product to do it.”

a picture of a woman with a quote from jessie siu board member

Dr. Elizabeth Hale, Board-Certified Dermatologist, SVP of The Skin Cancer Foundation and Chief Medical Advisor to Vacation®:

"So many of my patients (and friends!) have fond memories of Orange Gelée, and they were thrilled to hear that it's making a return. But what's even more exciting to me, as a doctor specializing in the detection and treatment of skin cancer, is that we can all experience the iconic look and feel of the Orange Gelée we remember while achieving essential SPF 30 broad spectrum protection.”

dr. elizabeth hale is a board-certified dermatologist

Stay tuned for the next update which includes a special announcement about the big March 28 launch!

How We Decided on SPF 30 for Orange Gelée by Vacation®

The Orange Gelèe Revival Project is a joint initiative between Vacation® and Orange Gelee fans to bring back the beloved product by Summer 2024.

a tube of orange vacation brand sunscreen gel

The Orange Gelée Revival Project is now complete.

Shop The Completed Orange Gelée


Vacation® is a “Leisure-Enhancing” Sunscreen Company








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